Hacking Life – The Indian Way

February 6, 2012

Hacking Life is a presentation my colleague Dina Mehta made at Microsoft SCS 2012 in January. The session was “Unintended Consequences and Unexpected Practices” organized by danah boyd and Mike Ananny.

When she first told me she was going, we started talking about hacker culture as an early question pointed to looking at file sharing, pirated copies and more. In this presentation Dina makes a nice case viewing “hacking” as a generative construct for thinking, and an organizing principle for life … hacking life and living … rather than it being just about hacking infrastructure to do different things. In other words think about how hacking empowers the user and betters their life, rather than the technical approach or the work around. And this presentation is not about the much-touted concept of Jugaad!

Watch the video. Frankly my favorite examples come towards the end.

What happens when people reach for more… and see the advantage of “hacking towards a better future”? Consider what you have hacked recently, or your kids, or something you’ve seen that was unexpected? Hacking often has the connotation of geeky, rather than creating something new. Yet many of the simple examples above show how people are “hacking” the environment, the public and private space around them. Example – if you have no space or privacy then how do you hack life for intimacy?


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